15 Best WordPress Plugins for 2019

Today we are going to talk about WordPress plugins because they are the easiest ways to add functionality to your site, create the exact features you need to succeed online, and add creativity beyond your primary theme.

One of the biggest mistakes developers make is wasting time trying to develop feature solutions manually.

For example: creating social media icons.

Many of us including myself try to code social media icons with HTML and CSS, to only realize there was a one-click solution with a plugin that gave me the same results with more customizations.

Pro Tip: Think like a beginner and find the easiest way to build an effective website.

When I am searching for plugins there are a few things I look for:

  • The rating
  • Update history
  • Number of active installations (anything over 100,000 downloads I want to test)
  • The number of 5 and 1-star reviews

With this in mind, let’s go through the 15 best plugins to improve your WordPress website in 2019.

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1) Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL is the first plugin I install with every site I’m building. Here are the basics for Really Simple SSL:

  • Forwards all your nonsecure HTTP requests to HTTPS
  • Requires you to have an SSL certificate
  • Most web hosts offer SSL/HTTPS for free
  • Upgrade (paid) to show your company name within the browser

The stats on Really Simple SSL:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated a month ago
  • Over 2 million active installations
  • 794 reviews

2) Child Theme Configurator

Child themes are the right way to build websites, and before I customize anything, I create a child theme that will back up and preserve my customizations. Later, you can update the “parent” theme without losing all your prior work.

What Child Theme Configurator does:

  • Creates a customizable child theme
  • Allows you to update the “parent” theme without worry of overwriting your work

The stats on Child Theme Configurator:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated 7 months ago
  • Over 250,000 active installations
  • Over 200 reviews

If you would like to see Child Theme Configurator in action, I recently released a full tutorial building a website using Divi and Child Theme Configurator.

3) Yoast SEO

Yoast is a plugin every site can use to help users improve Google rankings. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and Yoast allows you to:

  • Customize keywords in meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags and more.
  • Get more traffic from Google
  • Generate a sitemap automatically

The stats on Yoast:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated a 1 day ago
  • Over 5 million active installations
  • Over 23,000 reviews

4) W3 Total Cache

A cache plugin optimizes your website and increases your speed by caching. W3 Total Cache does this in many ways:

Caching: Saving copies of elements of your website, so you do not have to load them from your database

Compressing files: Making files as small as possible for faster load speed

Minifying: Removing unnecessary and redundant data without affecting the site

Integrating with a CDN (Content Delivery Network): A CDN will host your static images and create duplicates across various locations. Depending on where your traffic is loading your site, it’s going to load from the closest location, drastically improving performance.

The stats on W3 Total Cache:

  • 4.5-star rating
  • Updated 9 months ago
  • Over 1 million active installations
  • Over 200 reviews

5) Classic Editor

WordPress released their new 5.0 update which comes installed with the Gutenberg editor. If you are not comfortable with the new editor, I recommend using the Classic Editor plugin to restore older features and functions:

This plugin will be supported through 2022 or longer if the WordPress development team hits any snags along the way.

There are tons of active installations for the classic editor probably because people were not expecting the new Gutenberg editor! I recorded my first time going through the update and using the Gutenberg editor for those of you ready to see how it works.

The stats on Classic Editor:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
  • Over 2 million active installations
  • Over 400 reviews

6) Elementor

A popular drag and drop page builder plugin in which makes it easier to design your websites versus using the standard editor visually. They have tons of various styles and is very similar to Divi:

Like most other page builders, there is a pro version of Elementor for power users and within the WordPress plugin directory, there are many “child” plugins available.

I created a design tutorial last year using Elementor which you can watch if you would like to delve into the features and functions.

The stats on Elementor:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
  • Over 1 million active installations
  • Over 2,500 reviews

7) Beaver Builder

Another page builder option similar to Elementor and Divi. Many of my subscribers gave positive feedback on Beaver Builder which is why I wanted to include it despite having no personal experience using it.

The stats on Beaver Builder:

  • 5-star rating
  • Updated 6 days ago
  • Over 500,00 active installations
  • Over 300 reviews

8) Contact Form 7

One of the oldest and best contact form plugins on WordPress:

Reliable email form builder
Lots of support online
Built-in spam filtering
Not the best design flexibility

The stats on Contact Form 7:

  • 4-star rating
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
  • Over 5 million active installations
  • Over 200 reviews

9) Instagram Feed

A necessary and straightforward plugin to include your social media feed on your site:

Add your Instagram photo stream
The developer also has a Facebook feed plugin

10) Sumo

A marketing plugin that includes services that optimize your lead generation methods by:

Collecting Emails
Adding social share buttons
Other various cool marking tools

11) WooCommerce

Necessary if you are developing a commerce site:

The #1 e-commerce plugins on WordPress
Powers 30% of online stores
Has various extensions to add more features to your store

12) Duplicator

An easy plugin to backup and migrate your website if you are switching hosts. I recently created a tutorial to show you how you to do this step by step.

Backup & migrate your website
Easy-to-use wizard to take you through the process
Watch my tutorial video!

13) iThemes Security

Previously known as Better WP security, iThemes Security is an all in one security plugin that does a suite of services:

Two-Factor Authentication
Prevents hackers from login attempts
Forces SSL

14) bbPress

A community plugin to have community interaction.

Adds a forum to your site
Created by WordPress founder
A lightweight plugin that won’t slow down your site

15) BuddyPress

Adds social networking features that allow users to connect, create groups, and see an activity stream:

A social network in a box
Connect, send messages, and start groups
See a social activity stream

Plugins are great options to reduce the amount of time you customize a site, make it more secure, add marketing features, and way more. These are the top 15 plugins I believe every developer should have in their toolbox and use at their disposal.

However, there are over 50,000+ plugins so if I didn’t mention one that you like, please drop it below in the comments and I will be sure to check it out.